NXT, 4/18

Johnny Gargano is officially an NXT Superstar again. He says he could not have done it without the fans and his wife. Candace announces she’s taking on Zelina Vega tonight. Johnny then says he will be Aleister Black’s first challenger. That’s a match I’m damn excited for.

Ricochet shows off some agility early but Aichner catches him and hits a few power moves and kicks in the corner. Aichner smartly tries to keep the pace slow and keep Ricochet on the mat. Ricochet uses his speed to hit some counters and a dropkick out of the corner. He shows off some power of his own with chops and forearms. His springboard European uppercut looks pretty awesome, and he follows it up with a standing shooting star press, which never fails to impress me. He blocks a superplex attempt and finishes the match with an eye-popping 630. Holy shit this guy is impressive. I’ve never seen that before. Color me awestruck.

God help these jobbers. Rowe hits a devastating running knee to start the match, and it doesn’t get any better from there. This one didn’t last long, and was a brutal squash. I love these powerhouse tag teams like War Raiders, AOP, and the Bludgeon Brothers. Give me more. They throw up the metal horns, which instantly makes them my new favorite tag team.

Shayna interrupts a meeting in the women’s locker room and says thinks have changed, and this is her locker room now. Nobody looks ready to step up. She’s a great heel, I really want to see her get smashed.

A vignette is show for the return of Kona Reeves. I don’t remember much of him.

Strap in for this one. Very likely a blowoff match as it’s been made official that Sanity is moving up to SmackDown. The match moves to the outside very quickly and Sullivan gets tossed into the steps. Dain goes for a suicide dive, but Sullivan counters, runs him spine first into the ring post, and hits a suplex on the floor. Back in the ring, Lars hits a ton of clubbing crossface blows, then hits a powerful German suplex. He goes to the top rope and hits a diving clothesline to the floor but came down really god damn hard on the steel ramp. That did not sound good. Back in the ring he goes to the top again and hits a diving headbutt. We certainly haven’t seen this kind of offense from Lars to this point. Now the fun starts as Lars starts to toss chairs into the ring, while the crowd chants for tables. After a chair shot to Dain’s ribs, Sullivan digs the chair into Dain’s upper body in the corner. Dain makes a comeback with a running dropkick, a fireman’s carry, and a Vader bomb for a two count. Dain appeases the crowd and gets a table, setting it up the corner while keeping Lars at bay with a few chair shots. Sullivan counters with a slam as Dain tries to throw him through the table and goes for a diving headbutt, but Dain gets out of the way and he nails the chair head first. After each man teases going through the table a few times, Dain hits a cross body on Sullivan that drives him through the wood. Dain puts a chair over Sullivan and looks pull a Shane McMahon with a coast to coast but Sullivan gets up and after a few shots back and forth, hits a freak accident onto a pile of chairs for the win. That match was awesome. Dain’s face was busted. I could watch these two wrestle every night. Dain was the perfect guy for Sullivan to feud with, but now that he’s headed to SmackDown, who will stand in Sullivan’s way? Not many big mean in NXT at the moment so it could be challenging to book him.

Candice gets in some pretty cool offense early before being distracted by Almas. Johnny comes down immediately to even things up. Both of these women look tremendous in the ring. Candice catches Zelina in the Gargano Escape. Almas tries to interfere but Johnny catches him in the Gargano Escape as well as Zelina taps out. That was a great match, send the crowd home happy, and smart for Zelina to put Candice over on her way out. Candice is an amazing wrestler and I expect her to be in the women’s title hunt very soon.

After the match, Johnny officially lays down a challenge to Aleister Black. The greatest theme music of all time hits and Black comes out to give Johnny a title match next week. Count me the hell in.

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